The power of sharing
There’s a bit of Volvo in every car, regardless of brand – and you can make that a couple of bits if you drive a petrol-powered vehicle.
Both are innovations where Volvo Cars dropped its patent rights so they could be shared with other car makers for the benefit of humankind.
The first is the most obvious, because you’ll wear it almost every day: the three-point seatbelt.
Volvo Cars’ ingenious solution was simple as well as efficient: A combined diagonal and lap belt, anchored at a low attachment point on the side of the seat, provided a V-shaped geometry that ensures the belt stays in place even in a crash.
In 1959 Volvo Cars became the first automaker in the world to fit the three-point safety belt as standard in the Amazon and PV544. A few years later, the Swedish company waived its patent rights to enable all automakers to use the safety belt.
No other automotive feature has saved more lives. It is estimated that more than one million lives have been saved with the widespread introduction of the lap-sash seatbelt.
Volvo’s second breakthrough for the automotive industry was developed in 1976.
The Lambda Sond was a device only the size of a finger, yet its benefit for the environment has been enormous.
The result of several years of Volvo research into complying with increasingly stringent emission control requirements, especially in California, this oxygen-sensing probe gave birth to the catalytic converter emission control that reduces harmful exhaust pollutants by 90 per cent.
Above: The Lambda sond sensor was a breakthrough for reducing harmful vehicle emissions.
By 1988, seven out of every 10 new Volvo cars featured catalytic converters. Today, virtually every petrol engine in every car features the Lambda Sond sensor.
Volvo Cars’ open mind and passion for innovation, stemming from our Swedish roots, means the company also embraces both investment in, or collaborations with, other companies to help its quest for the next breakthrough that will shape the future of transportation and mobility.
The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched in 2018 with the aim of investing in strategic technology trends that are transforming the industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility services.
The Fund’s first strategic investment was a stake in Luminar – a leading start-up in the development of advanced sensor technology for use in autonomous vehicles.
It’s an investment that links neatly with Volvo Cars’ partnership with leading automotive safety systems company Zenuity, as the Swedish car brand aims for its own leadership in autonomous driving.
Volvo Cars has also joined forces with digital giant Google to help it forge ahead in the area of connectivity.
Volvo Cars’ next-generation Sensus infotainment system will be embedded with Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services. And to ensure Sensus can react to digital developments and customer needs, new apps and updates will be available in real time and applied automatically.
The company, however, continues to develop its own apps, software and connected services within the Volvo Car Group, using its growing force of software engineers.
It’s all proof that whether it’s investing heavily internally with its own people or externally through acquisitions and partnerships, Volvo Cars is committed to establishing leadership in areas including connectivity, safety, autonomous drive and electrification.